MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Mamaroneck High School graduates enthusiastically threw their caps and tassels in the air Wednesday evening as the sun set behind them for the last time as high school students.
“This may be intimidating, scary and uncertain, but this is nothing new to us,” Student Council President Harrison Frank said in his dedication speech. “We as a class embrace the uncertain. Eventually, the change will feel natural, and we have this school to thank for that.”
More than 350 students graduated - each one approaching the podium to receive their diploma with a smile.
“Because of the heat, I had to shorten my speech from one hour to three minutes," Salutatorian speaker David Cruikshank joked. "But congrats to graduating before the world ends in 2012 — thanks Mayans.”
He then named things students won't miss about Mamaroneck High School, such as having to get to school a half-hour early to find parking, bumping into other students while running between classes and taking standardized tests.
“There will never be the same group of people who thinks these jokes are funny or unfunny,” he said.
As commencement continued, parents rushed forward to take pictures of their graduating children. Air horns blared every so often, and a fire truck even honked its horn as a student walked across the stage.
“He did a very good job,” Pam Cantine of Mount Vernon said of her nephew Demonte Adams. “He had a couple struggles in the beginning, but he pulled it together and I am happy to see him walk across that stage.”
Many of the graduates were excited about “senior summer,” when they relax before entering college or looking for work.
Graduate Caroline Bennett of Larchmont, an avid Girl Scout, earned her Gold Award in May after creating a club at Mamaroneck High School to bridge the age gaps between students. She is now looking forward to going to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health in the fall.
“I look forward to relaxing before I go off to college, because it’s a hard field to get into,” she said. “And I know it’s going to take a lot of work.”
In the end, Superintendent of Schools Robert I. Shaps left the students with some tips for success: form good habits, make personal sacrifices, manage yourself and your time, be willing to learn and become self-reliant.
“Remember your roots,” school board President Robin Nichinsky said. “This foundation will allow you to grow, even when you stumble along the way.”